US Space agency NASA has ruled out chances of potential damages caused by asteroid Apophis to Earth for the next 100 years.
- The asteroid was discovered in 2004 and named after the Egyptian god of chaos and darkness. It was said to be one of the asteroid that posed the biggest threat to Earth.
- Apophis was expected to come very close to Earth in 2009 and 2036 but NASA has refuted claims of threat. There are fears of collision in 2068.
- The asteroid came within 17 million kilometres of Earth when it flew past on March 5. Scientists used this period to make detailed observations.
- Scientists used the 70-metre radio antenna at the Deep Space Network’s Goldstone Deep Space Communications Complex to study Apophis’ motion.
- Scientists ruled out any impact of risk to Earth from Apophis in 2068 and long after based on the findings of the study.
- The study also improved knowledge of its position in 2029 that allows greater certainty of its future course. This removed Apophis from risk list.
- The “risk list” is also known as the Sentry Impact Risk Table maintained by CNEOS and contains list of asteroid whose orbits is close to Earth.
- The asteroid will come near Earth again in 2029 when its distance with earth will be about one tenth the distance between Earth and Moon.
- Asteroids are rocky objects that move around the Sun. They are smaller than planets and are also called minor planets.
- Asteroids are divided into three classes. The asteroids belonging to the first class are found in the main asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter.
- The second group of asteroid are called Trojans and they share orbit with a larger planet. These planets include Jupiter and Mars.
- The third group is the near-earth asteroid whose orbits pass close by the Earth. Asteroids that pass the Earth’s orbit are known as Earth-crossers.